Video Game: Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
Fight it Out!
The rule of the empire was a pure regime of terror. Merciless persecution was directed against survivors of the old kingdoms and those who would escape the tyranny. The heart of the people were troubled by secrets and betrayals and much blood was spilt over the land.
Imperial Year 24 - Here on the frontiers of Sharom the last survivors of the Knights of Zenobia were planning a final challenge...
The first game of the Ogre Battle series, Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen, is subtitled as "Episode V". Eighty years ago, five great heroes brought peace to the continent. Fifty-five years later, one of the two surviving heroes, the mage Rashidi, teams up with Empress Endora of the Highlands to assassinate king Gran of Zenobia and his family. With this, Endora unites the continent of Zeteginea into The Empire. Twenty-five years later, you play a young noble who rallies the remaining Zenobian knights to start a revolution against Endora, her son Gares, and Rashidi and his evil magic. But rumors rise that Rashidi seeks to release the Ogres from the underworld, and provoke a new Ogre Battle among humans, Ogres, demons and angels!The game is a strange RTS. The player controls squads who travel the world map. When two squads meet, the battles are resolved automatically.Followed by 1999's OgreBattle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber as episode VI, and 1995's Tactics Ogre as episode VII. Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis is a Gaiden Game and not given an episode number.
Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen contains examples of:
Anti-Grinding: Done innovatively. There isn't a limit to how high you can grind a single unit, but there are consequences to doing so. First off, if a unit kills another unit that's weaker than it is, it can lose ALI and CHA. A unit with low CHA is often prevented from advancing to a higher class (as such classes represent positions of leadership), and a unit with low ALI damages your army's reputation when it liberates a town. In addition, each level fields a limited number of enemy units (though Random Encounters with wild monsters are unlimited), so if you use one unit extensively, you can end up with a One Unit Army that you have to use because the rest of your army Can't Catch Up, which means that you may as well write it off as a permanently zero-alignment unit.
As Long as There Is Evil: Sage Rashidi, Galf and Albeleo all tell you that killing them won't do anything permanently, as long as the threat of war is present.
Bigger Bad: In a sense, the Holy Lodis Empire. It's seeming intent to invade the continent of Zeteginea eventually results in the formation of the Sacred Zeteginea Empire, and after the end, Destin and some allies go off to fight it's expansions elsewhere
Black Knight: Prince Gares. His introductory chapter is called such. He is often refered as "The Dark Prince" or "The Black Knight".
Black Magic: Wizardry. Yes, the traditional fantasy magic is evil: you need to have a low alignment to take the class in the first place (though don't go too far or you can't advance), it allows you to summon and make deals with demons, and can even lead you down the path to necromancy and eventual lichdom. Dark Is Not Evil and Bad Powers, Good Peoplecan apply, however; the most notable example of this is Saradin, who has a low alignment in-game, but not only doesn't act it, explicitly calls out Albeleo as A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: Shows up sometimes. Especially concerning the issue of the Japanese L and Rs. The kingdom of Holai is often called Horai. Fenril is sometimes called Fenrir. Lodis in future games is refered to in the original as "Rodisti." This can be quite confusing.
Lans and Warren refer to the Zetegenean Empire as the Zenobian Empire in the first map. Repeatedly. Given that it's the Kingdom of Zenobia that you're looking to re-establish, this is a pretty glaring issue.
Crossover Cosmology: Within the same game. The goddess of justice "Felanna" appears while the Chariot card summons Thor. Angels and Demons are also common.
Dark Horse Victory: The Hierophant ending of the original game. Rauny becomes queen as heir to Zeteginea, your hero marries her, and Tristan goes off to fight Lodis. This is the only ending in which Rauny rules in her own right.
The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Double Subverted. Empress Endora's Start of Darkness was when she tried to form a continental alliance to protect against Lodis, got her kingdom invaded for her trouble, and allied with dark forces to protect her kingdom and conquer the continent. When you reach Zeteginea, she tries to get you to join with her against the threat of Lodis, which would be an aversion...except that she's doing this solely as a con to maintain her own power.
Deal with the Devil: You can opt to recruit the devil Galf by giving him the holy sword Brunhild, while having a low alignment and reputation. Doing this can get you a special bad ending where Galf possesses you and rules the world in your name. This ending only happens if your reputation bar is less than a quarter full, so you can still avert it by rebuilding your reputation.
Death Seeker: Yushis' sister Mizal, and the shaman Norn. If your reputation is high enough, you can talk Norn out of it by telling her that her boyfriend isn't dead, as she believed. Mizal... not so much. Tristan is infered to be doing this before you recruit him.
Defeat Means Friendship: Under the right conditions, you can get some of the level bosses to join your cause if you send the right allied units to their castle. You can also get Deneb to join your side in the first game, but doing so delivers a Critical Hit to your Reputation meter, and it has to already be low just for her to agree to join.
Elemental Powers: Plays a rather good chunk of role in the latter games. In the original Three Dragoons (Slust, Fenril and Fogel) are based on this, as are the breeds of dragons - Good = Cold, Fire = Neutral, Evil = Physical.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: There were six different types of offense in March of the Black Queen: fire, cold, thunder, holy, dark (or evil) and physical. They clashed about how you'd expect; however, not all characters were inherently set to a particular element. Rather, each class tended to be strong in some areas and weak in others.
If you have a spellcasting character like a wizard, however, you needn't worry about choosing the right element yourself; they will automatically select a spell keyed to their target's lowest elemental defense. How convenient!
Generally speaking, the element opposition is Fire - Cold, Light - Dark, Thunder - Physical. Generally one is only strong in one element of each pair.
Fake Ultimate Mook: The Golem units in most of the games. They have inherently high strength (and, in the front row, deliver three crushing punches) and can easily withstand most physical damage. However, they have pitiful HP, and are easily slain by one or two Fire-elemental spells.
Four Is Death: The Four Devas (Debonair, Figaro, Previa and Luvalon) play this straight.
Fragile Speedster: Ninja units get three attacks per battle earlier than most other classes, and deal quite a bit of damage, but don't have the defenses of other units in the front line. They do have a fairly decent agility stat, though.
Gender-Restricted Ability: In most Ogre Battle games, each gender has its own set of classes, with no overlap. In the Tactic Ogre games, there is some overlap.
Guide Dang It: And how! Finding out where you're supposed to go first to get a particular event takes the wisdom of a thousand other players, and finding Chaos Gates or buried treasure without a guide is pure luck or systematic map-combing.
Not to mention trying to get some of the endings. Oddly, the worst ending is probably the most difficult to get, and the biggest Guide Dang It of them all. It's also really really bad for the hero.
Half-Human Hybrid: More like... Half-demigod hybrid. Fogel is a dragon-like humanoid, who slays dragons.
Karma Houdini: Deneb thought nothing of killing people for her experiments. However, even if you kill her, she just comes back in a new body. Since she seems to think helping the good guys in sequels is fun and has held back on the killing innocent people people recently, she's tolerated and it's not even a hit on the Karma Meter to have her join in later games. There's not a whole lot anybody can do anyways.
And it seems she doesn't consider it killing; she does get pretty cheesed off with you for smashing all her pumpkin people, so they were probably still alive in some way, just in that tortured "Aaaugh kiiiill meeeee" way.
Karma Meter: Two kinds: a meter that gives your army's overall reputation, and the "alignment" stat for individual characters.
The "Charisma" stat also qualifies. It moves in a similar way to the "Alignment" stat.
Lady of War: Rauny Vinzalf, future queen and the first female Paladin on Zenobia. Also Fenril, one of the Three High Knights who fought in the original Ogre Battle. If she's female and a warrior-type, the Opinion Leader also qualifies.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Where Endora's fall from grace started. When it looks like the Holy Lodis Empire seems posed to invade, she appeals to the outher four Kings for an alliance to fight them off. Their response? To take this plea as a sign of weakness and invader her kingdom of Hyland. With a little help from Rashidi, Hyland not only fends them off and defeats them, but the rage from their acts brings her to path of evil.
Offered the Crown: In Ogre Battle, this can happen if you're high alignment and meet certain conditions. In the best ending, you refuse it; in others, you can take it or marry the legitimate heir of the appropriate gender. Meanwhile, in the evil endings, you take the throne by force, to varying degrees of success.
One Man Party: In Ogre Battle, it is relatively simple to create a single unit that can effortlessly steamroll over the entire enemy army. See Game Breaker above for some possibilities. The only problem is that this unit will end up with incredibly low alignment, so they can't liberate towns without screwing your Karma Meter... but hey, the rest of your army needs to do something with all this free time they have, right?
They'll also be very expensive to deploy and keep on the field.
Our Liches Are Different: The ultimate Wizard unit with three hit-all magic attacks in the back row...and three single-target holy attacks in the front.
Out-of-Character Moment: Prince Tristan's actions in the Hanged Man ending are completely at odds with his portrayal in every other scene in the game.
Palette Swap: To differentiate NPCs from other units of their class. Some advanced classes are also palate swaps of earlier ones.
Shout-Out: Yasumi Matsuno loves the band Queen. Both "Ogre Battle" and "March of the Black Queen" are named after Queen songs, and the stage "The Rhyan Sea" is a reference of the Queen song "Seven Seas of Rhye". The subtitle of Tactics Ogre, "Let Us Cling Together", is from another Queen song.
Squishy Wizard: Wizard units deal excessive amounts of damage, but tend to die easily. Not the case for liches.
Sirius is the Dog Star; Deneb is Cygnus Alpha; Albeleo is remarkably close to Albireo, which is Cygnus Beta; Castor is Gemini Alpha and his twin Porkus should probably by written as Pollux, Gemini Beta; and Prochon is likely the translation of Procyon, which is the brightest star in Canis Minoris.
Stone Wall: Most monster units aren't as damaging as smaller units, but can tank more damage. Undead units completely shrug off all damage that isn't holy (which kills them in one hit) or giant pumpkins (for some reason).
Theme Naming: Several stage bosses are named after stars. Also, The Four Devas in Ogre Battle are all named after cars — the Mitsubishi Debonair, the Nissan Figaro, the Toyota Previa and the Chrysler LeBaron.
Several sources said that battles directly affected reputation, in the same way that they affected alignment and charisma. This wasn't true. Also, amazons don't hate male leaders, at least not in anyway that affects gameplay.
Boss battles directly affect reputation, as the winning unit liberates the headquarters the boss was defending; in addition, some bosses will hurt your reputation if you kill them, and if you haven't done the proper storyline events to save them, you'll take the reputation hit regardless. This may be the source of some of the confusion.
Certain game mechanics are improperly represented by most guides, which are then copied by others, allowing rumours to form. For instance, Amazons do not do better in units that are all female (although characters do get stat bonuses for having compatible leaders), and attacking weaker/stronger units does not affect global "karma", just individual unit ratings.
Sadly, almost all of those rumors arose from the official strategy guide and Nintendo Power (often NP copying the guide), which led to them being copied by the earliest internet walkthroughs, which led to them being "common knowledge," despite being completely false. You can, in fact, have a level 25 unit running around pwning lvl 10 units with no hit to your reputation whatsoever, though they will have 0 ali and 0 cha. Probably the first game is especially vulnerable to this due to its rather vague mechanics and the fact that the reputation meter, despite being a 100-point scale, is represented by a fairly small visual with no number, so playing the game the standard way may make it hard to tell just how much impact anything had on it.
Use Your Head / Losing Your Head: In Deneb's Garden or with an item from Deneb, you can recruit Pumpkins (men with pumpkins for heads) into your army, who attack by tearing off their own heads, kicking them into the air, whereupon they grow to huge size and land on an enemy, halving their HP (or killing undead units outright) unless they miss. If you upgrade them to a Hallowe'en, they can do it twice a fight!
White Mage: Cleric, Shaman, Monks, and Paladins (in the back row) all can heal your party or kill undead. Angels (and all upgraded versions), Sylphs (fully-upgraded Pixies), Princesses and Liches get holy attacks, as does any physical attacker wielding a holy weapon.
Winged Humanoid: Canopus, and every other hawkman in general. Angels and demons, too.